KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Thursday formally declared missing flight MH370 an “accident” and its passengers and crew presumed dead, a step that opens the door for compensation payments but which was met with skepticism by distraught relatives.
“It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident,” civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a televised announcement.
“All 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives,” he added.
Azharuddin said the official decision that the plane’s disappearance on March 8 was an accident would allow families to move on and receive payments from the airlines.
“It is hoped that this declaration will enable families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensations process,” he said.